Department of Veterans Affairs aims to reduce claims backlog - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

VA aims to reduce claims backlog

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WASHINGTON (WTOC) -

The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs provided an update on Nov. 11 into efforts on cutting down the backlog in veterans' disability compensation and pension.

The backlog so far has been reduced by 36 percent since March as the result of "transformation initiatives" and "increased employee productivity", according to a Veterans Affairs news release.

During 2013, more than $59 billion in compensation benefits were provided to 4 million veterans and survivors from the VA, and more than $5 billion in pension benefits were provided to more than 515,000 veterans and survivors, according to the news release.

Allison A. Hickey, undersecretary of veterans affairs for benefits, testified recently at a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.

Hickey testimony included that pending inventory of claims dropped 22 percent and that accuracy of claims increased to 90 percent from 83 percent in 2011.

To file a disability claim, the VA recommends using the fully developed claims, known as FDCs, electronically through eBenefits. Those who need help filing can contact a local veterans service organization.

The law allows veterans who file an initial disability compensation claims as FDCs now through Aug. 5, 2015, may be eligible for up to one year of retroactive benefits, according to the VA.

Premium account registered eBenefits users can file a claim online, track the status, access other benefits and more. For more details, go to http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/.

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